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Five Thoughts on Oklahoma State’s Loss to Kansas State




Oklahoma State dropped its sixth straight game to fall to 0-6 in Big 12 play with a 96-88 loss to Kansas State at home on Wednesday evening.

The Cowboys came out with high energy and got production across the board on offense with all five starters finishing in double figures. But the defensive lapses that paved the way for K-State to finish shooting 56 percent from the floor, coupled with some poor decision making down the stretch was too much to overcome as game No. 1,000 in GIA slipped through OSU’s fingers.

Here’s my five thoughts from the game.

1. Jawun Evans has been all over the place

A future NBA player, everyone knows this team will go as Jawun Evans goes. And that was never more evident than tonight. Evans scored 13 of his 20 in the first half and came out with an attacking mindset. He was setting dudes up, driving to the bucket and even slipping passes through peoples legs.

Oklahoma State held a lead at halftime, and that was in large part because of Evans. When we get the Jawun that’s driving and creating opportunities for himself and setting up others, this team can be pretty good offensively.

THIS is peak Jawun.

But once again, foul trouble caught up with him as he sat during a crucial stretch late in the second half. And even when he was in, he was not a good player. Especially when it was crunch time.

Either because a lack of rhythm or just dysfunction on offense, but they crumbled once again down the stretch and Evans was a major contributor to that. He finished with 4 fouls, 3 turnovers, and 7 assists.

2. OSU didn’t get enough pressure on defense.

Brad Underwood’s teams are known for physical man-to-man defense that create havoc and give the team added opportunities on offense.

But that wasn’t the case tonight.

Oklahoma State forced just 12 turnovers (to OSU’s 19) and ended with 11 points off turnovers (to K-State’s 21). One might think those numbers would be flipped with the system OSU runs, but tonight it was quite the opposite.

Oklahoma State has a potential lottery pick running the offense, Kansas State has a thing called a Kamau Stokes running theirs.

3. The interior defense was just atrocious.

For a stretch during the game, Oklahoma State opted to switch to a 3-2 zone defense. Maybe just to try and switch things up because KSU was scoring at will. And they looked utterly lost. The Cats would throw it around the perimeter, get the defense to shift and then find the backdoor cut for an easy basket. Time and time again.

There was no communication, the rotations were a half-shift slow, and it lead to easy buckets all night down low for D.J. Johnson who finished with his second-highest scoring output in more than a month.

OSU simply had no answers on the interior as K-State finished with 48 points in the paint. That’s point blank buckets — which explains how they finished shooting 56.3 percent from the floor and 1.231 points per possession. Despite OSU’s hot night from the 3-point line (12-of-22), they gave the ball away too much and gave too many easy shots up in the interior.

4. Davon Dillard may be the new sixth man.

Turns out, Davon Dillard’s breakout game at Allen Fieldhouse wasn’t a special fluky gameplan against the Jayhawks. It looks like Underwood is going to ride him out and see what he can bring. Because frankly, he’s one of the only wings coming off the bench athletic enough to roll out in Big 12 play.

Dillard is an enigma and seems to still be a total wild card to me. For every performance we see from him like he did against Kansas, we will see six like tonight (he finished with 4 points 4 rebounds and 1 assist.)

I’m on board with him coming off the bench as a guy who can shake things up Marcus Smart style. He’s a decent defensive weapon, he can scrap for rebounds, and he can make an impact that doesn’t necessarily show up in the stat sheet. I’m intrigued and admittedly nervous to see how this experiment goes. But Underwood really doesn’t have much of a choice to give it a shot.

5. Oklahoma State is at the bottom of the Big 12 standings.

Here’s a look at the Big 12 standings (via Big 12’s website)

Team Record
Kansas 6-0
Baylor 5-1
West Virginia 4-2
Kansas State 3-3
TCU 3-3
Texas Tech 3-3
Iowa State 3-3
Oklahoma 2-4
Texas 1-5
Oklahoma State 0-6

The good news? OSU is favored in three of its next four according to KenPom. The bad news? Oklahoma State is still 0-6 and resting in the cellar of the conference standings.At the risk of sounding like an apologist, it’s still pretty difficult with what OSU is working with from a talent standpoint. But tonight’s game is the second I expected them to win but didn’t.

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